Review:Pimp My Ride: Street Racing DS
Developer: Activision Blizzard
Release Date: 04/21/2009
Pimp My Ride was an entertaining show on MTV that featured rapper Xzibit and his crew modifying people’s cars and turning them from barely mobile vehicles into motorized dance halls or movie theaters. I say “was” in the past tense because there hasn’t been a new episode of the show on since 2007, which makes it confusing as to why there would be a video game based on the show released in 2009.
Despite the odd release date for the game, there is certainly more room for good racing games on the DS. Does Pimp My Ride have what it takes to race ahead of the pack or does it just stall at the starting line?
There is no story mode for Pimp My Ride. Right away you have to buy a car, and then you have some very limited options on how to customize it. More options and in-game currency and be gained by playing and winning the street races in the game. It should be noted that the in-game currency is known as Scrilla.
Really? Scrilla? Why not just call it money? Might as well be racing for bling-bling or for some benjamins. It’s ridiculous.
Since the main modes revolve around racing and customization, you’d think that these modes would be really deep, right? Not really.
Racing is done in a 3D style that is similar to other 3D racing games on the DS, such as the Need For Speed games. The game controls very loosely with more focus on acceleration, power-sliding and shortcuts than racing well. As you race, there will be Scrilla icons to collect and nitrous icons which will provide a brief boost of speed. Since this is a street racing game there will be traffic that you can run into, though that mostly just slows you down. Like other racing games on the DS, the physics engine gives weight to the vehicle you control and to the other racers on the track. However, any car that you might run into has the weight of a paper airplane and are more an annoyance than a threat. Different courses have different bonus objectives, and the races generally have multiple courses that culminate in a timed race.
The only reason I mention some of the other racing games on the DS is because the gameplay portions of Pimp My Ride feel like a reskinned version of Urban Asphalt GT or the Need For Speed. Other than the on-track icons, there is very little that separates the racing portion of the games, except that Pimp My Ride: Street Racing is a simpler product.
Playing races will gain Scrilla and unlock parts to customize a car with. There are multiple parts for some areas, such as rims, while other categories are severely lacking, even after you unlock a lot of items. What’s really amazing for a game based off of a TV show about customizing cars, is that nearly every way you can customize your car just makes it uglier. There are a few option for paint, but many of the colors just look awful. Special items to decorate the cars are things like a snow plow, bull horns, sirens, etc. Because, you know, when I think about making a ride look cool, what I want is to throw some bull horns on the hood.
Space that could’ve bee used for things like under carriage lights, suspension and better patterns are used for goofy crap like that. This is the one area they should’ve really focused on, even moreso than the actual racing portions, since this is what the show was about. There are better customization features in other DS racing games that are two years old.
Graphically the game is decent. Other than the horrible ways in which you can disgrace the car you race in, there is a fair amount of detail in both the car models and tracks that are within the game. Everything holds up well and gives you a good sense of speed. The other cars on the street are noticeably less detailed than the models for the cars involved in the racing. A lot of the tracks get reused. The 2D icons for Scrilla and nitrous pick ups on the tracks seem out of place in an otherwise 3D racing game.
The background music is a serviceable mix that fits with the theme of the game, but the sound effects for the cars isn’t very well done and is worth muting the game for.
There is a multiplayer mode for those who know someone with a copy of the game, but otherwise there isn’t much replay value to the game once you’ve unlocked enough money and all of the parts. The game is also fairly forgiving no matter what difficulty level you play it on, and it takes four to five hours to unlock everything in the game. After everything is unlocked, you can purchase multiple vehicles to mess around with, but as mentioned earlier, most of the cars look better before you get around to customizing them.
Overall, you’ve got a racing game that feels like a reskinned version of better racing games on the DS, has a poor customization feature despite being based on a show all about customizing vehicles, and the show the game is based on has been off the air for some time now.
Modes: Below Average
Control/Gameplay: Below Average
Final Score: VERY BAD GAME
Short Attention Span Summary:
Shameful attempt at cashing in on a license that isn’t even worth very much anymore.